Author Archives: blueaztec

Top Plays of 2010

As the new football season approaches I’ve taken some time to reflect back on some favorite memories from the 2010 season.  Keep in mind that these are not necessarily the “best” or “most important” plays.  This is just one man’s most memorable moments from 2010, and it was not easy narrowing down the list.  Here follows a countdown of my top 5 favorite plays.

5.  New Mexico – Lindley to Sampson Touchdown

This game holds special significance for me, as it occurred on my birthday.  In a game SDSU could not afford to lose, with 5 seconds left in the second quarter the Aztecs had a less than comfortable lead.  Then Ryan Lindley connected with DeMarco Sampson for a 40-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the half.

The play begins at the 0:35 mark.

4.  TCU – Rob Andrews Sack and Jerome Long  Touchdown

This exciting game took place on the same day as the Aztecs’ first basketball game of the season.  A large contingent of Show members (along with many other SDSU fans) watched this game in a packed bar in Long Beach.  The Aztecs took the early lead, and widened the margin when Rob Andrews came out of nowhere to blindside Andy Dalton.  Jerome Long would complete the play with a fumble recovery in the end zone for an Aztec score.  With the 14-0 lead against #3 TCU the Aztec fans in the house were going nuts.  People were standing on chairs, and the whole place was singing the Aztec fight song.  Though the Aztecs couldn’t hold on to win, it was TCU’s first 2 touchdown deficit in 2 years, and the Aztecs held the lead for longer than all of TCU’s prior opponents combined.  The 35 points tallied by State were also the most points scored on TCU in 2011, and until this game the entire conference (through 6 games) had only put up 23 points against TCU.

The play begins at the 0:46 mark.

3.  Navy – Lindley to Hillman Touchdown

Everyone should remember this glorious day in Aztec history.  The doubt over whether this game would actually be played, due to flooding, only served to make the event more memorable.  The Aztecs came out aggressively and took the lead with a diversified and dominant offensive attack.  As the fourth quarter began the SDSU offense executed the perfect fake play to start to put the game out of reach for Navy.  Lindley appeared to hand the ball off to Brandon Sullivan who then went over the top while Lindley stood by, casually hiding the ball.   Lindley then delivered a perfect pass to a wide-open Ronnie Hillman for the TD.  The Aztecs went on to claim the first bowl victory of the Division 1 era.

The play begins at the 1:32 mark.

2. Air Force – Ronnie Hillman 65-Yard Touchdown Run

Fans should remember this game well, as the Aztecs defeated a Top 25 team for the first time in many years.  When the Aztecs won this game I knew that this season could be something special.  There was great energy at the Q on this day, and I still love watching the highlights and listening to the roar of the crowd as Hillman takes off for the first TD of the game.  I also love the commentary by CBS’s play-by-play man, “nothing mediocre about this kid either, look at Hillman go!  Ronnie Hillman, freshman running back, breaks a tackle! Here he goes! Off to the races, the cutback, the jump, gonna be a touchdown! 65 yards for Ronnie Hillman, how ‘bout that?!”  This play was made possible by a frenzy of broken tackles and beautiful blocks.

The play begins at the 0:30 mark.

1. Wyoming – Brian Stahovich 89-Yard Punt

How often does the punter get the glory?  Brian Stahovich’s 89-yard punt may have been the play that won the Aztecs the game.  Watching this game on TV I could only laugh at the absurdity as the ball just kept going and going.  Kicking from the end zone Brian delivered the longest punt in school history, the longest in the NCAA since 2004, and the 2nd longest in MWC history (the longest being the aforementioned 2004 punt by Air Force).  Making the play even more impressive is that the snap was less than perfect, as Stahovich had to jump to make the catch.  Stahovich’s only punt of the game was enough to earn him MWC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.  Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen said the kick, “caused a 10-point swing in the game,” 10 points that turned out to be the margin of victory.

What were your favorite plays of the 2010 season?  Share your thoughts in the comments or on facebook.

Thanks for reading!


The Show on the Road: AriSHOWna

The Show invades Tucson.

March Madness is upon us and I’ll start this blog off by showing my bracket.  Come on now, no making fun.  I’ve picked an upset or two correctly, but I’ve missed A LOT too.  But at least I don’t cheat and fill out 5 brackets and then claim I picked every upset.  The point I’m trying to make though is that the Aztecs occupy the center spot as National Champions.  When filling out your bracket that is all you need to know, the rest is irrelevant.

Win this.

The Show had a pretty good contingent that would meet up in Tucson for the game against Northern Colorado.  WALDshOw and I left San Diego at 5AM on Thursday morning and parked our car at the McKale Center before 11Am.  I’m told we made pretty good time.

SMH

After grabbing some food, we headed into the arena and took our seats for the second half of the Temple/Penn State game.  I can’t go any further without commenting on how terrible the Penn State mascot is.  As one friend put it, “their mascot looks as old as Joe Paterno.”  Well it is in fact older by 5 years.  I am alone in thinking that the Aztecs have one of the best mascots in college sports?  The best part is that it’s not a guy dressed up in some absurd fluffy costume.  I mean take a look at the Northern Colorado mascot.  It looks like a 30 year old teddy bear.  Then you’ve got the Kansas State mascot which is just a guy with a giant wildcat head.

UNC Bear in the background.

WALDshOw and I had some pretty amazing tickets in the third row, but at game time we decided it would be more fun to sit with the rest of The Show.  The game started out just fine for The Show, but after only a few minutes the blue hairs in our section (backed by arena security) stifled our enthusiasm by making us sit down.  I will never understand people that do not want to stand at a basketball game.  If you want to sit and eat peanuts, I think that is done better from the comfort of your couch at home.

Our would-be-view from the third row.

Sports Illustrated picked the Aztecs to reach the Final 4, and the commentary regarding the SDSU/UNC matchup went something like this: “The only question in this game is how the famously creative SDSU student section will distract the Bears.”  Well the bears did miss their first 4 free throws, thanks in part to the famous large heads.

He's the hero San Diego needs right now.

For me the highlights of the game were Billy White’s continued stellar play and the very low number of turnovers.  As I said in the last Road Show blog, when Billy White is playing up to his potential the Aztecs simply cannot lose. Heading into this game some fans had some feelings of trepidation, facing the same school that stunned the Aztecs at Cox Arena in a game 3 years ago, but there was no way that would happen again.  This season is about vindication, and the Aztecs will not let us down.

Badger douche.

After the game we headed outside and decided to meet at a local bar known as Dirtbag’s.  There were several other Aztec fans there and we did our usual singing and chanting once or twice, to the ire of the fans of U of A and Wisconsin.  Some Wisconsin fans decided to get into it with us, suggesting that the Aztecs play in an inferior conference.  This fan asked, “what conference do you play in? The WAC?”  To which Showdora responded, “nice job in the Rose Bowl.”  Referencing the Aztecs’ conference mate’s victory over the Badgers. ZIIIIIIIIIIIING!!!

Welcome at the Westin.

After enjoying some basketball games on TV at the bar we headed over to the Westin, where the basketball team, pep band and cheer/dance squads were staying.  The accommodations were amazing, and it is clear that the higher seeds receive preferential treatment with regard to hotel arrangements.  There were something like 12 pools, and one could probably get lost for a day trying to get through them all.  We found our friend, Ripley’s Show It Or Not (aka iamtrumpetshow) and proceeded to have a good time.  Eventually we met up with our friends Beau (GeckShow) and the Aztec Warrior.  We even briefly said hello/hung out with the team.

On the off day a couple of us headed up to Mesa to watch the Cubs’ spring training game.  The two teams combined for 27 runs on 40 hits.  The place was packed as it was the 4th largest crowd in Hohokam Stadium history.  Go Cubs!

It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.

Then Saturday arrived.  The Aztecs got past the first round game without much difficulty, and now would be facing a team that had been in and out of the top 25 all season.  It could be argued that, other than BYU, Temple is the best team the Aztecs have faced this season.  We got back to Tucson a couple hours before the game and parked.  We then hitched a ride on the bus with the band and cheer.  Yeah, we’re kind of a big deal.

On the bus.

For this game The Show was standing from the start and we were never asked to sit down.  Event security was even accommodating.  For this game most of our section stood the whole time, and we were able to bring a lot more energy to the game.  Near the end of the game everyone around me seemed to be nervous.  People were pacing back and forth and had their hands in prayer formation.  I for one was completely calm; I’ve seen enough of our games to know that we always win.  The greatest plays were Malcolm’s blocked shot and Kawhi’s steal and dunk to put the game away.

Near the end of the game all of the U of A fans in our area started rooting for Temple.  I guess they were upset that we stood the whole time and obstructed their view of the game.  No one likes us, we don’t care!

Here’s a short video from after the victory, I didn’t get any better footage, I was too busy celebrating.

Ridiculous mascot.

After the game everyone wanted to relax and watch the Kansas State and Wisconsin game.  We were watching a great competitive game, but none of us could get into it until the last moments, because we were all pretty much in a coma after our thriller of a game.  Eventually we went out to enjoy some victory pizza at a place called 1702.  I do not recommend it, they had some of the slowest most inattentive service ever.  The portions were ridiculous though, a single slice was the size of an entire pizza.

Shane going nuts.

Our friend Shane, not expecting the huge portions, got a Greek salad and a calzone.  After eating most of the gargantuan meal, the server asked if we wanted some desert, to which Shane responded “I’ve always got room for desert.”  The man is crazy.  While eating we watched the end of the UConn game and then highlights from the day.  We cheered when the Aztecs appeared on TV and turned our heads and booed when they showed “he who must not be named.”

Continuing the tradition of mounting mascot statues.

Another one.

The best of times.

Ben is chowing down in the background on the right.

All in all Tucson was an unforgettable awesome time, and we wait with great anticipation for the huge game(s) in Anaheim this weekend.  Until next time…

yours truly, blueaztec


The Show on the Road: What Happens in Vegas is an Honor Code Violation

We play to win and that's how champions run.

Having fun.

The Mountain West Tournament is like Aztec Christmas.  It is the most wonderful time of the year.  Rampant debauchery and SDSU victories are an unbeatable combination.  The three days in March last season were among the best ever for Aztec fans, so it would be a tall task for this team to match the thrill experienced a season ago.  The team definitely did not let us down this year, as this year’s tournament may have been the best ever for SDSU.  The Show would do everything in its power to will the Aztecs to victory at game time, but until that time there was a lot of fun to be had.

There may be more blogs to follow from other members of The Show.  This blog concerns the exploits of just a few of us, dubbed The Show Corps of Engineers (because each person is an engineering major), I am the lone non-engineering representative as a finance major.

Five, five dollar, five dollar box of donuuuts!

Leaving around 9AM on Thursday morning, we were able to start our trip off with a bang.  Before leaving San Diego County we stopped at a donut drive thru, and while trying to decide what to order the donut person asked if we would like “a lot” of donuts for $5.  Being as indecisive as we are, we agreed to the deal.  Seconds later we were delivered a box of what must have been 70 donuts, and all of a sudden we were able to quantify what exactly is meant by “a lot”.  The five of us consumed less than 10% of the box of approximately 10,000 calories before abandoning the box with a Costco employee while we were refueling.

Later on the drive up we stopped at the In-N-Out in Barstow.  It is my belief that the town exists solely to refuel and feed travelers making the trek from San Diego to Las Vegas, but I digress.  Immediately upon entering the restaurant we spotted several groups of Aztecs fans that had stopped for the fine cuisine.  I was excited to see so many SDSU fans, and I knew we would have a great showing at the T&M.  During the last stretches of the trip to Las Vegas we closely followed BYU’s desperate victory over a terrible TCU team.  I guess BYU fans might be finding out that it takes more than one player to make a team after all.

This picture doesn't do the section justice.

We arrived at Planet Hollywood and rested before heading over to the arena shortly before game time.  Over the past few years the Aztecs and The Show have converted the Thomas & Mack into a comfortable vacation home.  This game would be no different as The Show represented quite well, with a legitimate student section.  I believe it was the only section in the arena to stand for the entire game.  We had a large block of tickets in one section, and everyone else seemed to gravitate towards that section until we had a few hundred Show members dominating the arena’s atmosphere.

The highlights of the first game included freshman Jamaal Franklin’s 3 three pointers, and his blocked shot (from behind on 7’3″ David Foster).  And chanting “he’s a freshman” after his 3rd three pointer.  As Tim Shelton proclaims in his smash hit Game Time Ready, “future’s looking bright, boys coming in X Thames, LB and Jamaal Franklin!”  Holding Jim Boylen’s Utes to 15 points at halftime was another highlight.

After the game we purchased all our booze and got some pizza from Dominos, before heading out to the strip for a victory stroll.  This is where things get hazy for me and the nights blur together.  Walking the strip dancing, and singing is a blast.  It’s even more fun when you’ve got rival MWC fans walking the strip as well.  I can’t remember seeing any byu fans walking around so late at night, but we did see plenty of Lobos.  Each time we saw one we would chant “BEAT BYU, BEAT BYU.”  And they would often join in with us or high five and woo.  The WAC tournament was also going on in Vegas at the same time as our tournament, which meant seeing plenty of Utah State fans.

Utah St fans on the right, random beezys up front.

We love fellow byu haters, and we got a picture with one bunch.  One of our favorite activities to celebrate victory is what we called the “fecta,” or what may be better described as a bump.

The "fecta"

You’ve seen it performed often by the Aztecs on the court.  The “fectas” kept getting larger and larger, I believe the most we ever had was approximately 20 people, performed after winning the championship.  So anyway, on Thursday night (or rather Friday morning) I finally went to sleep after having been awake for 35 hours.  It was the seventh time this season that I have been up for over 24 straight hours for Aztecs basketball.

On Friday morning (after just a few hours of sleep) our group moved to the Hard Rock for the remainder of our stay.  One benefit of staying at the team’s hotel is randomly running into National Championship winner Steve Fisher. Before going to the semifinal game against UNLV, we grabbed some food at a place called Smash Burger.  I recommend it highly.  At the restaurant we spotted several byu fans, I guess they only come out in Las Vegas during daylight hours. For any MWC fan that attended the tournament, you might be wondering if byu has more than one player.  Believe it or not their team is made up of many people.  byu fans apparently aren’t aware of that fact however.  Every single byu fan in attendance at the tournament sported some sort of jimmer paraphernalia, whether it was a “you got jimmered” shirt or a jimmer jersey.  One patron at Smash Burger even had a byu hat, with the number 32 emblazoned on the side.  After the Utah game we did spot a UNLV fan getting in on the “32” fun.

We made friends with other MWC fans.

Before heading to the game we stopped at Blondie’s at the Miracle Mile and met up with many other Aztec fans.  We sang and chanted and did our thing.  We made the bar ours, and we made Arizona and Penn State fans jealous.  We eventually headed over to the arena to watch the UNM/byu tussle.  UNM made it a good game for a while until Drew Gordon fouled out and Dairese Gary went down with a torn ACL.  It’s sad to see Gary’s career at UNM end that way.  I wish the Lobos the best in the NIT, and I hope they can make some noise even without their senior leader.

Before the UNLV game people were a little worried about DJ Gay’s recent performance.  So I made the prediction that DJ would go off for 18 in this game.  He ended up with 15, but I was close.  I will never worry about DJ’s performance, because even when he’s not shooting well he is still under control, making good decisions, and playing good defense.  He’s just always a leader.  And when it comes down to it, I know that in the games that we really need DJ to step up, he does so.  The game against UNLV is what DJ Gay is all about.  He is a leader through and through, and he did it again by winning the game with a floater as time ran down (without the need to call a timeout).

We don't think much of UNLV.

The highlight of this game is that we own the Thomas & Mack.  Kruger simply cannot beat Steve Fisher.  The Aztecs have now won 8 out of the last 9 games against UNLV and 5 of 6 on UNLV’s home floor.  It’s always a pleasure to chant “this is our house” as the sad sack Rebel fans exit the arena, especially after such a thrilling victory.  Other post victory chants included “AAAAZTECS” in mock of the “Rebels” chant, “We Want Jimmer,” and of course a cappella renditions of Uprising and the SDSU fight song.

The semifinal game ended later so we didn’t have as much time to hang out on the strip but we tried anyway.  Eventually we just got food at O’Shea’s and called it a night.

On Saturday we slept in and didn’t do much before going to the game.  When we arrived we were fully rested and ready for what could be the battle of the century.  This game was for all the marbles.  The stakes were possibly the highest ever.  The winner would get undisputed bragging rights, the West region in the NCAA Tournament, a banner, and most importantly the final victory in what could be the last basketball or football game played between the two schools for a very long time.  The Aztecs were going for their second straight tournament title, and byu would try for their first title in a decade.  On the way to the arena I said I would love to see an Aztec blowout and then predicted that the Aztecs would win by 18.  That is a 100% true story.

This is what it looks like when The Show goes nuts.

The Aztecs burst out to a 5-0 lead and at that point as far as I was concerned the game was already over.  The Aztecs looked hungry and ready to play.   There was no way we would lose this day.  If you watched this game then there is no way that you can dispute that the MWC is a major conference.  A match up of two top 8 teams is not something many conferences can boast.  The crowd was electric, whenever either team would score the noise in the arena was deafening.  The MWC is big time basketball (and football too for that matter).  Some of my favorite moments of the game were the first two times jimmer tried to drive on Jamaal and both times he came up empty.  Perhaps my favorite aspect of this game is that Billy White came up big.  When Billy has a good game the Aztecs are unbeatable and that’s all there is to it. When the Aztecs built the lead to 23 I found myself wondering if this was real life.  The Show was going absolutely nuts, and the byu fans around us were moping.  It felt good knowing that they could see how happy we were.  When byu cut the lead to 10 one fan made a sign asking us “nervous?”  Ha, nice try troll.  It was the same fan who a day earlier filmed us because he thought we were sad that UNM couldn’t beat byu.   On March 12th the Aztecs looked like an NBA team.  The Aztecs forced turnovers and had breakaway dunks, that is the best way to win.  The picture of Kawhi taken at the end of the game sums it all up.  The Aztecs got the last laugh.

After the final buzzer sounded we stuck around and celebrated on the floor.  It was kind of difficult getting down there but most of us eventually did.  It was kind of sad to see some fans still in the stands, but they probably had a better view of the proceedings than I did.  Speaking of “better views,” WALDshOw was able to get right under the basket during the net cutting ceremony for some incredible pictures.

Back 2 Back

Class act if there ever was one.

After that celebration we headed out to the team bus.  There we waited to congratulate the team.  We sang Frere Jacques for Mehdi, chanted Game Time Ready for Tim Shelton, yelled “DEEE JAAAY GAAAY” for DJ, and “BILLYYYY WHITE” for Billy.  Steve Fisher took the time to thank all 200 or so of the fans and shook each person’s hand.  Steve Fisher is a coach that knows this kind of thing doesn’t happen for everyone.  All Aztec fans should be so grateful to have such a quality person as our head coach.  While congratulating the team I was also able to get a victory hug from Jamaal.

After becoming tournament champions we went to Sonic for a victory dinner.  Shout out to the guy that saw me there and asked if I was the guy that writes this Road Show Blog.  Sorry I didn’t catch your name.  We then went back to our room and played what was apparently the best game of King’s Cup ever.  The greatest moment was when the rule was that any profanity resulted in taking a drink, and at the same time categories came up and the category was swear words.  We had a good few minutes of laughter about that one.  Eventually we made our way out to Blondie’s again for some more post championship fun.

The next day we stuck around Vegas for a while because we wanted to sleep in.  We had lazy day, getting Coke floats at the factory and playing a never ending game of air hockey at GameWorks before heading over to the restaurant formerly known as the ESPN Zone.  There we watched the selection show and cheered loudly when the Aztecs seed and location were announced.  We were mildly disappointed that we did not receive a 1 seed, but we were very happy with Tucson in the West region.

Some of the top quotes from the weekend:

“I believe that we will win.”

-When asked on the strip by an evangelist “What do you believe?”

“If the Navy could clone me, they’d have the perfect warrior.”

-Levi Lentz

“That’s an honor code violation!”

-WALDshOw, when a male BYU fan entered the women’s bathroom at the T&M.

“Do What Davies Does”

-Jessica Valadez, to a BYU fan trying to talk trash

“Watch out guys, when I’m drunk I can get a little rapey.”

-Shall go unnamed

Now I will share some stories with you that were submitted to me by other members of The Show for inclusion in this blog.  One man’s point of view was simply not enough for this glorious weekend.

From Billy Blanco:

I got a chance to talk to Billy White’s dad after the game while waiting for the players to load the bus. He really liked the sign we brought and asked if he could have it. I snapped a photo with him before handing it over. He said he was going to have the team sign it and put it up with all of Billy’s trophies and awards.

Billy Blanco with Billy White Sr

From Shane who had a conversation with Boylen:

Boylen's FIRED!

As he was walking by, I kind of turned in my chair and said “way to be classy in your interview yesterday regarding Kawhi, coach”.  He asked me, “what?”  So I repeated what I said.  His response, “Shut your f***ing mouth,” and as he walked off he said, “I hate those F’in Aztecs.”  After he walked off, I had a feeling that it wasn’t over and sure enough, as I kept an eye peeled in that direction I saw him walking over. He walked directly towards me. When he got within a couple feet, I made it a point to get up out of my chair (I didn’t trust him). He then said, “come talk with me over here,” and had his arm outstretched like he wanted to put his arm around me.  I made it clear to say, “first of all, don’t put your hands on me; I know you have a bit of a temper.”

His big thing was that I called him out in front of his wife. I kept telling him I made no personal attack. Was only in regards to him being a coach and that he should give credit where credit is due. He then explained the interviewer kept asking him the same question. Prompting him to ask what the story was really about… the game or a Kawhi story?  Made sense.
Overall, he struck me as a decent guy. Obviously, his history of anger issues and tantrums isn’t what I would look for in a coach, and he was extremely unprofessional to go cussing at me like that, but he did explain himself pretty well towards the end and had alot of good things to say about our team after he calmed down. Just shows me how much I should appreciate our great coach/person in Fisher.

From Ripley’s Show It Or Not:

BYU brings people together.

From DarceShow:

The Show exits the party bus before the championship game.

Celebrating victory, Ocean’s 11 style.

From RockShow:

RockShow walked to McDonald's barefoot.

I think that just about covers it for this blog.  So until next time…

yours truly, blueaztec


The Show on the Road: Flying Solo

When making my extensive road trip plan for this season the Air Force roadie was the last game added to my itinerary.  I had already planned to go to 7 other games away from home, so I figured this game is on a weekend, might as well just tack it on for good measure.  This particular trip however I would be traveling alone.  Believe it or not there aren’t many people that want to travel from San Diego to Colorado Springs in February.

I was pumped for this trip nonetheless, even if only to say that I did it.  I headed out to Colorado on Friday morning.  When I disembarked the plane in Denver I was of course sporting one of my favorite Aztecs basketball t-shirts in hopes that someone would make mention of the team or the game.  The first person to mention the game was a CSU alum working at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  We briefly discussed the Aztecs’ and Rams’ success this season, and congratulated each other.  It was a nice little conversation, until the woman helping me with my rental asked what division we were talking about.  My new CSU friend said Division I of course, to which my attendee responded “oh I’ve never heard of those schools.”  Seriously?  You work in Denver and you’ve never heard of Colorado State?  She then mentioned that she is an Ohio State alumnus and told me that her school is the best at everything.  I told her that we’d know who is better come tournament time.  I doubt she knows what tournament I was even referring to.

Utah plates had me nervous.

We stepped outside so I could choose a car.  I eventually settled on this bright yellow Aveo.  It made it very easy to pick out in parking lots.  I was a little hesitant when I noticed that the car had Utah license plates though.  Nothing good comes out of that state.  I’m not superstitious, just a little stitious, so I stuck with the car.

During the hour long drive from Denver to Colorado Springs I couldn’t help but notice how much more beautiful Colorado is than Utah.  It’s not even close.  Eventually I arrived at my lodging for the evening, the Fairfield Inn by Marriott.  Yes a Marriott, I was not proud. After settling in at the hotel I had some time to kill so I headed to the Air Force Academy.  There’s not much negative I can say about a service Academy, so this blog won’t be as scathing as some of the others.  Nevertheless there are some things I’ll say.  The scenery and setting of the base is all beautiful, but the only thing more boring than the facilities (the chapel excepted) is the basketball team’s style of play.

Some of the places I went on my self-guided tour were the Cadet Field House (which houses Cadet Ice Arena and Clune Arena), Falcon Stadium, the bomber display, and the cadet chapel.

I wanted to mount it, but there was no one to take a picture.

As far as I can tell, this is their student section.

On gameday morning I was very excited, and I showed up to the arena an hour early to take in the atmosphere.  By the time the game started I was amazed at the number of SDSU fans in attendance.  One by one they kept entering the arena, at tipoff I estimate there were a few hundred Aztecs.  I thought Air Force was able to muster a decent crowd (3,463), but there were few to no cadets in attendance.

Air Force played a good game in the first half but ultimately couldn’t keep up with the more talented Aztecs.  One thing that stuck out to me was just how loud Coach Fisher is.  It might have just been because it was a smaller gym, but even from near the top of the arena I could hear Fisher throughout the game.  The highlights of the game for me were when my favorite player Jamaal Franklin secured a key rebound and when Rahon made his 3 to put the Aztecs up 12.  After the game ended, as the Air Force fans streamed out I overheard several complaints about the officiating.  Falcon fans believed the intentional fouls were all unwarranted and that the foul on Billy was “all ball.”  Winners win.  Whiners Whine.

Their mascot is known simply as "The Bird."

Victory

After the game I stuck around for a while to take some pics and talk a little with the players and some other fans, but after that it was right back to the airport to head home.  While waiting for the flight I was not surprised to see James Rahon walk up to the gate.  Before too long the whole team was there.  On the plane I sat in a window seat, with Coach Dutcher in the middle and Billy White in the aisle seat, across the aisle sat Kawhi Leonard and in front of Billy was Coach Fisher.

Not the most comfortable seats.

Among the topics discussed during the flight were: what the Aztecs would possibly be ranked come Monday, the best way to stop Jimmer (Billy wants the job), Beats by Dre, UNLV and CSU’s chances at an at large bid and the Fab 5, among others.  One thing Coach Dutcher mentioned, while watching a video of a potential recruit, is that people expect our recruiting to get better after the team’s success this year.  He made a point that it’s already that good!  How are you going to recruit better than 27-1?

So now having concluded my final regular season road trip of the year, I feel a little sad that this part of the season is over, but I also look forward to the excitement I’ll experience on the road in March.  I think I’ll end with a summary of the trips for this year.

1. UNLV- probably the best time I’ve ever had in Vegas.  Walking the strip with friends and randomly singing the fight song is a ton of fun.

2. Long Beach State- A great way to start off the year.  Although the football team lost that day, it was still a blast singing the fight song and watching Matt stand in the booth at the sports bar during the football game.  The atmosphere inside the pyramid was also a lot of fun.

3. New Mexico- I was thrilled to come away with a victory in a tough place to play.  The Lobos have lost only 2 games at home this season.  DJ’s half court shot was incredible.

4. LV Holiday Hoops- The close games were a little nerve-racking, but 2 days in Vegas is usually always a good time.

5. Cal- It was a great time absolutely dominating a Pac-10 opponent.  The loud cheers from the Aztec crowd near the end made this one special.

6. Utah- 20 hours in the car round trip was all worth it to see the Aztecs win in SLC.  I don’t ever want to see that city again though.

7. Air Force- I’m glad I took the trip to Colorado, but I don’t think I’ll be doing any more solo roadies.

That’s it for now.  The next Road Show blog will be from the MWC Tournament, and hopefully after that Tucson.  Until then…

yours truly, blueaztec


Halloween? Mardi Gras? The Show!

The Show has blown up this year.  The SDSU student section has been worthy of praise for a while now, but with the success of the basketball team this year enthusiasm has reached an all time high.  Students are not only camping out hours in advance to obtain tickets, but are also lining up several hours before the gates open on game day, in order to secure the best seats in the house.

Hours before the gates open.

Still hours before game time.

Once inside the arena, it is a rush to the bottom of the section to get one’s desired seat.

Opposing coaches and players have certainly noticed the intense atmosphere at the “Madhouse on the Mesa” this season.  Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds was quoted as saying “I told them that the reason they were undefeated was because of them,” Reynolds said. “That’s a great atmosphere. They’re into it. That’s what college basketball is supposed to be about. Their kids are into the game and they do it the right way.”

That’s nice praise but I much prefer the comments of Utah’s David Foster.  When asked whether The Show’s antics were bothersome he said “Absolutely. Especially them chanting something personal about coach.”   The Show isn’t there to be nice.  The Show exists to help the Aztecs win basketball games.  No one likes us, we don’t care.

The Show has long been known for it’s unique, random and wacky costumes, but this season has brought a whole new crop of guised groupies.  It seems with each game the ante is upped. Taken from The Show Commandments are the guidelines on what is appropriate attire for Aztec basketball games:

Thou shalt wear two types of attire to games: red and black, or whatever the hell you want. “Show” clothing is designed to be as funny, ludicrous and intimidating as possible. Costumes, outfits, and any accessories you can dream up are definitely encouraged.

Now, sit back and enjoy as I take you through a tour of some of the latest costumes to appear in Viejas this season.

One of my favorites, custom painted clone trooper helmets.

Bombaye Skull face paint is epic.

Dilbert and an astronaut totally make sense for an SDSU game.

Ryan Lindley and Gavin Escobar get in on the fun.

No comment.

Mainstays Shirtless Show and Showdora

I love the classic hard hat. With an SDSU logo sticker for each victory.

Not sure what to say about this, except it is awesome.

The guy has a sweet cape too.

Sith Show

Not sure what this is supposed to be, but I like it.

Everyone knows Geckshow.

Fans of the Beastie Boys should recognize this getup from the Intergalactic music vid.

Progeny of the great Shownana.

Obligatory body painted drunk guys.

Face paint is good too.

More paint.

My personal favorite, WALDshOw.

Can't call it a student section without green men.

The Drive 1360 wanted to get in on The Show too.

ShadeShow

Sombreros and painted faces near the top of the section.

Another mandatory item: wrestling masks.

Buddy the Elf. What's your favorite color?

Nice skirt.

Throwback to the Slaughter House days.

Not sure what tigers have to do with Aztecs. Awesome nonetheless.

Master Chief

So that’s it just for the last two games.  Not pictured: Aztec Joker, Yo Slamma Jamma, Red/Black guy, Santa Claus, Skullshow and many many others.


The Show on the Road: Victory at The Pit

The Pit.  A mile high and louder than Hell.  Or so they say.  The Show was more than happy to find out if this Lobo slogan would hold true for the #6 Aztecs’ visit to Albuquerque.

Our tour guide for this trip was one retired Show member.  She grew up in Albuquerque so she was able to lead us around town and give us a little background information.  Prior to our departure from San Diego she texted each of us a warning that we should bring some non-Aztec clothes for our night on the town after the game.  Win or lose, she suspected that Lobo fans would be unfriendly.  Apparently Albuquerque is a dangerous place to live.  Our guide relayed one story to us of a popular eatery in the college area called Frontier.  It is well known for its breakfast burritos (as apparently the entire area is), but to even enter the restaurant one must first pass through a metal detector.

What can brown do for you?

No more than 30 seconds after disembarking our plane in New Mexico a Lobo fan approached one of my companions to inform him “you know, here everyone is a Lobo.”  He was not kidding.  Not only is everyone a Lobo, everything is a Lobo. Restaurants, theaters and shops all bear the nickname of the UNM athletic teams.  Observing how enthusiastic this town is about Lobo athletics, I began to wonder what happens during football season.  Another interesting observation about the city of Albuquerque is that literally everything is brown or a shade thereof.  The buildings, the interior of the airport and even the grass are all brown.  It could be the most mundane looking place I’ve ever been.

Medio Litro

Our plane landed just 4 hours prior to game time, so before heading to the arena we briefly drove around the campus area.  We first spotted the statue of a Lobo, and decided it was necessary for us to mount it, in order to assert our Aztec dominance.  After this we ventured into the UNM campus bookstore.  One of my Show compatriots asked an employee there “I hear you have a large coloring book section, is this true?”   Eventually we met up with well known pep band member FemBone for lunch.  We dined at Bailey’s on the Beach, a restaurant at which FemBone’s brother helped create the menu.  There I enjoyed my Coca-Cola containing real sugar, imported from real Mexico.

Snake

After lunch we made our way on over to The Pit.  While waiting to enter the arena (approximately 1 hour before tipoff) surrounded by a veritable wolfpack of UNM fans, I was very tempted to sing the SDSU fight song, but the fear of being shanked was enough to dissuade me.  Once we were inside the arena I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm any longer.  As I stood on the concourse above the bowl of the arena I shouted “GO AZTECS” as loud as possible.  Immediately, the infamous Lobo super fan “Snake”, took notice and he was none too pleased with the Aztec invasion.  I’m not sure how his nickname came about, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a reference to his reptilian appearance, with his bald head and leathery skin.  If you know nothing of “Snake”, just know this, he was arrested last season for soliciting a prostitute.  Can you really blame the guy though?  There must be slim pickings in ABQ, as evidenced by another fan’s fondling of UNM mascot Lobo Lucy (http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/crime/police:-lobo-lucy-groped-by-drunk-fan).

Fisher is the classy one

Shortly before the game former New Mexico Lobo Darington Hobson came out to take his seat in the front row, but not before holding his ear to the crowd in order to elicit a response.  I wonder if Hobson realizes many Lobo fans still feel jilted about his decision to leave New Mexico early.  Yet another gaudy Lobo persona is the New Mexico coach himself, Steve Alford, even if only in his wardrobe choices.  One of my favorite chants ever started at Viejas Arena was the one mocking Steve Alford’s “Mustard Pants.”  Well, for this particular matchup with the Aztecs Alford chose to complete the condiment combo with his Ketchup Jacket.

Before the game started I had a nice conversation with one of the few Aztecs fans that made the trip out to Albuquerque.  I didn’t catch his name, but he sits in section C in Viejas.  Here is a picture of him at the airport, snapped before I knew that he’d be sitting right next to me.

A couple minutes into the game the Aztecs found themselves in a 13-6 hole.  And just a few minutes after that the Aztecs completed what might have been the decisive run in the game.  Now, in this game I’m not sure I got the full experience of visiting The Pit.  I don’t know when it’s supposed to be louder than Hell, but when the Aztecs are on a 12-0 run it is no louder than a church.  The highlight of the first half (and probably the season) was DJ Gay’s epic (beyond) half court shot.  DJ had been on a tear near the end of the half, so when he rebounded the ball I though to myself ‘I’ll bet he hits another three,’ then I looked up at the clock and saw that less than 3 seconds remained, and I thought ‘oh well,’ and before I could even finish the thought, the ball was swishing through the net, and all I could think was “Holy SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!”  Up to this point I had been somewhat reserved with my enthusiasm, being surrounded by hundreds of irritable Lobos.  But I would not sit after the best shot I have ever seen in person.  The 4 of us stood and belted out the Aztecs’ fight song at the top of our lungs.  Never have I seen such anger, hate and rage issued through the expressions on a person’s face.  The New Mexico fans around us were seething that opposing fans would dare enter their Pit and dishonor its hallowed atmosphere with an alien fight song.  No one likes us, we don’t care!

Aztecs lead at the half

On this particular night DJ Gay was inhuman.  He channeled the spirit of Brandon Heath, to hit 7 out of 11 three point shots.  The Lobos would have been wise to pull the fire alarm in this game (http://www.krqe.com/dpp/sports/ncaa/unm-pit-evacuated-), because DJ Gay was on FIRE!!  By the end of the game you could literally hear the collective sigh of the Lobo fans each time DJ caught the ball.

During the second half when it became apparent that the Aztecs would leave with a victory, the New Mexico fans became testy.  After an Aztec basket, during a timeout I stood and cheered verbatim “Go Aztecs! WOOooOOooOO!”  A Lobo fan a few rows in front of us told me off saying “you have no class!”  Another Lobo shouted “they don’t know what it’s like to win in March, give them a break!”  What I found ironic about this is that just this past March the Aztecs defeated New Mexico in an important tournament game.

Security at The Pit is serious business

Late in the game the Aztecs found themselves in a bit of foul trouble.  The fans in the arena would never have known though, because even after the recent $60 million dollar renovation to The Pit, there is no scoreboard that lists players’ points and fouls.  Even the arenas of the Big West feature such conveniences.  Seriously New Mexico, get your act together.

So the Aztecs left The Pit with yet another W (having won 4 of the last 6 in Albuquerque).  After the game we waited by the bus to get a few pictures with the team, and to congratulate them on a wonderful victory.  Already waiting by the bus was UNM fan “Snake”.  He was there getting all the Aztecs to sign an SDSU media guide.  He was very respectful, appreciative and congratulatory to the team and coaches, so much so that I almost feel bad for my digs on him earlier in this blog (almost).  So I invited him to join us in one of the photos with the team.  We waited around for quite a while for the hero of the night DJ Gay, as he was heavily occupied with the press after such a performance.  Finally he came out with Coach Fisher and the four of us cheered “DEEE JAAAAAY GAAAAAY” a la the Viejas Arena PA announcer.  Both DJ and Coach were all smiles.

Do What DJ Does

After a dominant victory in The Pit and a successful post game photo op, I skipped back to our car jovially, as though we had just won the MWC Tournament.  On the way back to the car Darcy (our tour guide and Show retiree) provided one of the best quotes of the trip, “I love it when Gay is hot!”

The next morning, the Lobos were greeted with the below headline in the Albuquerque Journal.  Awesome is right!  After the victory Malcolm Thomas tweeted “19-0…Can we get some respect?”  The Aztecs are starting to get the respect they deserve. It seems with each victory, more and more jump on the bandwagon.  ESPN called the Aztecs the most impressive undefeated team of the week.  And after the plane landed in San Diego even the flight attendant exhorted “Go Aztecs, 19-0” over the speakers.

Awesome: inspiring awe or admiration or wonder

Do Work Coach

On my return flight to San Diego I had the pleasure of being on the same plane as the team.  When I boarded in New Mexico, as I walked past Steve Fisher in search of a seat, he stopped me to shake my hand and thank me for coming out.  So I decided to take a seat in the same row across the aisle.  During the flight Coach worked diligently in preparation for the Aztecs’ next game (at home against Air Force on 1/19).  The flight was pleasant, and I was excited to be back once again in America’s finest city.  While waiting outside for my ride to pick me up at the airport DJ Gay, Billy White and Tim Shelton walked past me towards the team bus, and as they did so they approached me to thank me for coming.  I thanked them for continuing to win and wished them luck against Air Force.  I was really impressed with their gesture, and I’m glad that we have such honorable student athletes representing our school.

That does it for this edition of the Road Show Blog, the next installment will be after the UNLV game on February 12th.

Yeah, we will have 1 or 2 people there

Until that time,

Yours truly, blueaztec


The Show on the Road: Boylen Mad

“We’ve been up and down but we feel we are moving in the right direction,” Boylen said.

Such are the expectations surrounding the Utah basketball program this season.  How far the mighty have fallen.  These days the Ute’s are satisfied just being competitive with USD and Air Force.  Rick Majerus must be rolling over in his grave.  Wait, what?  He’s alive?  Well it appears his legacy at Utah certainly is dead.

From Boylen’s behavior on the sidelines you would never guess that he believes the Utes are headed in the right direction.  Never in the history of college basketball has there been a more obnoxious coach.  On the sideline Boylen plays better defense than his team does on the floor.  Regularly throughout the game he scurries up and down the sidelines, wide eyed, with hands outstretched as though his demonstration will suddenly enthuse the Utes into playing decent defense.  Well apparently it works for him.  Aztec fans should remember this infamous play during which he became the first coach ever to enter the box score, when he stole the ball from Lorrenzo Wade. 

Boylen’s antics have caused somewhat of an exodus of talent from the basketball program.  4 players with remaining eligibility left Utah in the off season.  A promising Ute freshman, Marshall Henderson, quit the team and transferred to Texas Tech.  Henderson was the kind of player Mountain West fans loved to hate.  He was cocky, the kind of guy that would drain a 3 (to go 1 for 6), and hold up his fingers in triumph, despite being on the losing end of a 70-68 score.  Though, last year during the game at BYU Henderson did something every fan can appreciate, when he punched BYU’s Jackson Emery.  So I guess he’s okay in my book.

Delirium had not yet set in

The ride up to Utah was tiresome and taxing.  Believe it or not, traveling 10+ hours by car from sunny San Diego into pollution riddled Salt Lake City is not the best of times.  We did make the most of it though.

Classy

The Show travels in style

I was excited when during the drive we began to see myriad billboards featuring advertisements for various wedding services.  Seeing those, I knew we were approaching the heart of LDS country.  We finally arrived to our hotel, the Grand America, after 9 PM on Friday night. The morning of the game we headed out to get some food and noticed there seemed to be plenty of fog in the air.  It was not until later in the day we learned that the air was not filled with fog, it turned out that it was in fact smog.

Could Utah fans look more miserable?

Uncle Teddy

We arrived at our seats in the arena with about 20 minutes until game time.  Our seats were positioned just a few rows in front of Ted Leitner’s broadcast booth, and at mid-court.  Ideal tickets for viewing an Aztec beat down.  While the arena was still quiet the 7 of us sang the fight song, loud and proud.  The Aztecs took notice as Malcolm Thomas pointed us out and James Rahon fist pumped along to “S-D-S-U SDSU Aztecs Fight!”  The outburst of school spirit must have been somewhat of a surprise to the smattering of Utah faithful in attendance, as many of them turned their heads to wonder what was going on.  On the topic of fight songs, it’s always funny to hear Utah’s anthem.  It is a catchy tune that could be confused with the Mickey Mouse song.  You can sing along starting at the 11 second mark. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, M-I-C-K-E-Y, M—O—U—S—E… MICKEY MOUSE!

Stay Classy Utah

On this particular day the MUSS (Mighty Utah Student Section) was a bit of a disappointment.  A more apt moniker would be the Meager Utah Student Section.  Apparently the Ute students cannot get up for a home game against the #6 team in the nation.  Meanwhile Viejas Arena is sold to capacity against the likes of Occidental College.  Here you can see the few dozen students that remembered there was a game waving giant heads, a trademark of SDSU’s The Show.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I guess they couldn't figure out what a Ute looks like

In the first half the Aztecs were unable to get off to a dominant start.  Playing their second consecutive road game, I was ready to cut our team some slack.  The second half was business as usual as the Aztecs went on a routine 10-0 run, the 18th run of the year of at least 10 unanswered points.  The Aztecs went the first 19 minutes of the second half without a turnover so I credit our team with the ability to adjust at half time and better execute.  The highlights of the game were Tim Shelton’s ridiculous number of charges drawn (4), Billy White’s intimidating screen and DJ Gay’s 4 second half threes. One of my favorite plays was one in which the Aztecs showed great determination, despite missing several shots around the basket, the players continued to do work and get rebounds, finally Malcolm Thomas put the ball in the basket and drew a foul.

In the second half I was able to dance my way on to the big screen, during the Boogie Cam timeout segment.  With the general lack of enthusiasm in the arena I knew I was sure to be featured, so I danced with the intention of pimping my MWC Champions shirt once I appeared on the screen.  Unfortunately once I was about to display my shirt, they must have realized they’d zeroed in on an Aztec and the camera switched to a different fan.

This is our house

Late in the second half we enjoyed the traditional early exit of the losing fans.  We stuck around for a while and sang the fight song once things had quieted down.  The Utah fans were definitely disgruntled with us singing our fight song in their house.  No one likes us, we don’t care!!  One ballsy Utah fan attempted to put the Aztecs down by asking who we have beaten, and I was happy to inform him that “As far as you’re concerned, we just beat Utah!”  So Utah should be a perfect fit for the PAC 12, with their basketball team on a 6 game losing streak and their football team’s loss to incoming Mountain West team Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Un-De-Feat-Ed

After the game we waited until Steve Fisher’s radio interview had ended and took the opportunity to take a photo with Coach.  Steve Fisher was, as always, very gracious and thanked us all for coming.  I thanked Coach Fisher and said “We’ll see you next week in New Mexico.”  After the photo Natalie asked Coach Fisher if he could help her out with a little problem she had.  Natalie recently had the contents of her wallet stolen, including tickets to several basketball home games.  Natalie politely asked (and I paraphrase), “Steve Fisher, would you happen to have any student tickets on you to the UNLV game on Wednesday?”  Seeing that Coach was a little confused, Natalie explained her unfortunate circumstances.  As Natalie relayed her story, Mike May stood at the ready and handed her a business card.  Coach Fisher instructed Natalie to give him a call when we all got back to San Diego, saying “we’ll get you into that game!”  Steve Fisher, the classiest guy I know.

Having successfully invaded Salt Lake, we were more than happy to get on the road back to America’s Finest City.  But first we had one stop along the way, in a town called Provo.  We stopped at LaVell Edwards Stadium, where we spotted an open gate to the football field.  I so wanted to run onto the field and desecrate it, but the girls would not allow it, apparently they didn’t want me to get into any sort of trouble.  I still think it would have been totally worth it, no matter the consequences.  Well, the main reason I wanted to stop in Provo was to mount the statue of a cougar which stands outside their stadium.  I was excited to display my sign warning the Zoobs of their doom, which they will meet on February 26th in San Diego.

After the detour in Provo, we sped off down the 15 towards our town.  Everything was going swimmingly until only a few miles before crossing the border into Arizona.  It was there that we were stopped for speeding.  The name of the exit where we were stopped?  Brigham Road.  Of all places in the state of Utah.  The officer approached the vehicle and asked “is there any reason you’re going this fast?” To which I responded “To get the F*** out of this state!”  He didn’t take too kindly to that so he decided to give me a citation for speeding.  They can’t stick it to us in basketball, so I guess they’ve got to get us this way.  We finally arrived back in San Diego around 4 AM.  The drive back was made more enjoyable by our jovial shouting of the fight song, and being 17-0 can make any drive enjoyable.  In less than 48 hours we drove to Utah, watched the Aztecs win and drove back.  VICTORY!!

 

So, we look forward now to our next road trip.  This upcoming Saturday we will travel to The Pit at New Mexico.

Until then,

Yours truly, blueaztec